Water Waste in our Modern World: How we can Help
by XavierGagnon on November 10, 2017 - 7:09pm
By: Xavier-Rowan Gagnon, Dorin Popa, Simon-Pierre Dupuis
As the years go by, and the scope of our impact on the environment dawns on us, it becomes clear that clean water will become one of the most critical resources for humankind in the future. Yet, water use is amongst one of the things citizen and companies in western cultures are the least worried about, and consistently waste aquatic resources both within their country, but also, more problematically, in less wealthy countries where the more limited water resources often get used faster than they can be replenished.
Two leading factors of water waste are the agricultural and domestic sectors. Currently, up to 60% of all fresh water consumed globally is used to grow crops. Indeed, a single plant requires a large volume of water to grow, but the most simple and widespread method of irrigation is also the most widespread. This method, consisting of flooding a field, wastes close to half the water deployed. Some modern techniques help reduce this waste, but the overall process remains extremely inefficient. In many naturally dry areas where wealthy communities are settled, facilities like pools, and decorations like lawns and plants are taken for granted, yet they require huge water input to maintain. It has been found Canadian households use on average 91 gallons of water a day, while US ones take up 100 gallons a day. In contrast to a country whose water supply is limited, for example Israel, who uses on average 36 gallons a day, this is huge waste. One reason for this is the price associated to water in north America, usually much, much lower than elsewhere due to the more plentiful resource.
The first step to lowering water waste is through awareness. Less wasteful techniques of agriculture are already commonly available, and residential consumption is closely tied to lifestyles of citizen. For example, farmers can use Drip irrigation, a method that delivers water directly to a plant’s roots, which reduces water waste by as much as 80%. Additionally, irrigation scheduling – watering at precise, efficient times – is also an easy implementation that helps reduce water use in irrigation. Residentially, people need to simply be more efficient with their use of water. This includes little tricks, like only washing full loads of clothes and minimizing shower time, and prioritizing them over baths. Installing high efficiency appliances (ex: toilets and dishwashers) also greatly helps reduce water waste inside households.
In the town of St-Lambert is a water treatment plant. Our plan is to visit that plant, then conduct a small awareness campaign to warn about residential and general water waste, and how to reduce it. The visit will help us gather facts and evidence at how much energy is wasted when water is not used efficiently, and will give us justification as we will have seen it happen ourselves. The awareness campaign will most likely be conducted at the college level, most likely involving social media as well as a physical aspect (ex: posters).
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